Posts Tagged ‘Work’

Saw-Whet Owl — The silver lining of aging is that I have more time to observe birds and paint them. — Art by Pat Bean

As An Old Broad Sees It

I married young, had five children, then joined the work force a month before I turned 28. I was lucky. I fell into a job that I loved so much that I overlooked how hard I struggled to make it all come together as a working mom. I actually believed I could have it all. That makes me laugh now. Today’s women are wiser.

I joined the work force in 1967, long before the much-needed Me-Too Revolution took place. It was also a time in history when women, in large numbers, were finally speaking up for equal opportunities and equal rights and pay as men.

We women have come a long way since then. Just one example is that in the 1960s, women accounted for only 3 percent of the nation’s lawyers. Today that number is over 40 percent. Ruth Baden Ginsburg pointed out the growing numbers of female lawyers in her book My Own Words.

But on a more personal level, I see my granddaughters struggle with finding jobs that they enjoy, but also jobs that let them have a life outside of work. And they are not alone. Just this morning I came across two articles, one in the N.Y. Times, and one that just popped up because I was reading the Times piece. (Sometimes I think the computer gods know more about what I should want than I do.)

Wrote Roxane Gay in the Times article: “… People want something different, something more. They want more satisfaction or more money or more respect. They want to feel as if they’re making a difference. They want to feel valued or seen or heard. They want the man in the next cubicle to chew less loudly so they are afforded more peace … They want to have more time for themselves and interests beyond how they spend their professional lives. They want and want and want and worry that they will never receive the satisfaction they seek.

I’ve heard the same thoughts from my granddaughters.

These are thoughts this old broad, raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression, is only now beginning to hear. During my parents’ era, the main concern was simply for the man of the family to have a job, hopefully one that the family could survive on, never mind if he liked the job or not.

I remember hearing my father say, when my mother finally went to work after the children were all gone, “her salary only pays for what the IRS now charges me in taxes.” This wasn’t true but it salvaged his pride that his wife was working. She, actually, was a better provider than he had ever been.

Now retired, I have time to reflect on all the advances we women, and men, have made over the years. l think having a life outside of work is a worthy idea, especially, since as a journalist of my era, I met hundreds of people who hated their jobs but didn’t have the advantage of quitting, or so they thought.

If I hadn’t fallen into a job I loved, and which gave me all the satisfaction I needed, I could have been one of them.

Now, I’m just an old broad enjoying her retirement, and having time to look at the world a bit differently. I find this quandary of life and its many changes fascinating – but glad I’m not in the middle of the quandary. Being an old broad does have its silver linings.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, enthusiastic birder, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.

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